Valve Steam Deck?

I’m in the queue for picking one of these up later this year. It’s essentially a PC inside a hand-held gaming shell.

I’m beginning to wonder if it has any mileage as a PC for Cantabile.

Any thoughts?

Don’t think so - it runs SteamOS - based on Debian Linux, but with a closed UI that only lets you run stuff from the Steam store.

  • no Windows
  • no non-Steam software

Essentially a closed ecosystem.

Of course, like a lot of closed ecosystems, it may be hackable :wink: - but that will in all probability impact and likely impair its original purpose.

So I wouldn’t hold my breath for this to be a viable Cantabile platform…



It can definitely run Win 11 - it’s been done!

Interesting: Steam actually allows and facilitates installing Windows - well, at least they provide drivers and TPM support. But according to first testers, performance with Windows is nothing to write home about (compared to Steam OS, which of course is optimized to the platform).

Also apparently no Windows audio drivers for on-board audio at this time - definitely need to use an external audio interface (if that can be made to work). Plus some other quirks with the current driver set, e.g. around battery charging.

Also, no dual boot mode Windows / SteamOS (yet), so you’d have to make a semi-permanent decision on how to use it (need to completely wipe SteamOS to install Windows). And given that Windows gaming performance seems to be problematic, looks like defaulting to Windows is not a good option at this point.

And the question remains open if Steam will really invest in tuning Windows performance so that it is viable for real-time audio with its specific requirements to avoid buffer under-runs. Given they have an optimized OS to run their games on, I wouldn’t bet on them being super-motivated to optimize Windows performance…

So overall, you may certainly be able to get Cantabile up and running on a Steam Deck, but since that
a) compromises its gaming capabilities (and this is probably why you are buying it)
b) still looks a bit shaky in terms of Windows performance optimization,
I don’t really get excited by that option.

But hey, that’s just me…



It will be interesting to see if anyone tries it. I don’t think I have the courage, the chops or the time!

But there’s a huge community of hackers out there - if it’s possible, they wil try it.

Steam deck can run many games, which are created for windows. It has an environment (wine etc.) whitch allows you to run windows apps in the linux ecosystem. It has power, it is small, it has a USB-C port, it has a touchscreen. Perfect for at least trying it out for Cantabile. Sadly I have no steam deck. :smiley:

But further, there are some other “gaming” handhelds on the market because of the success of the steam deck. Some based on Windows like the Rog Ally.

Some time I will try this.

The Steam Deck is heavily biased toward gaming. And any kind of environmental wrapper is going to put a drag on the processing capability.

This said, I would still be curious to see if anyone makes the attempt, but it most definitely won’t be me!

Hmm, just had a look at the ROG Ally - the specs look pretty decent overall: 16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD, and the Z1 Extreme processor of the top-end variant seems to compete roughly with a current i5 or Ryzen 58xx. Just wondering how much power management breaks continuous audio throughput…

But for the price point, I can easily knock together a small-form-factor machine pased on a mini-desktop motherboard - hardly any power management issues with that setup. And a 7’’ touchscreen with the buttons and thumbsticks may be nice for gaming, but in a live setup, I’d prefer a separate display on a mic stand any day.

So not going there any time soon…